How can we build a workforce for our digital future?

Digital workforce 2018 UN

UNDP
In the Arab region, average participation of young women in the workforce is 24 per cent.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Greg Caimi, Partner, Bain & Company & Ouriel LancryPartner, Bain & Company

At a recent World Economic Forum workshop on the topic of successful digital transformation, a group of executives passionately debated the challenges of managing their most important resource – human capital. The participants ranged from major global retailers employing a wide range of people (including store clerks and AI gurus) to Silicon Valley tech companies and a start-up about to open its new European headquarters.

All face the challenge of building a digital-ready workforce in an ever-evolving business environment. To do that, they agreed, any company must get two things right. First, they have to fill a clear talent gap in technological skills vital to digital strategy. Second, they must develop the 80% of their workforce already in place today who will still be there tomorrow.

The war for talent is not new, but the workplace is changing. Employees today increasingly demand more than a paycheck. They want to believe that their work matters; they want to be part of a culture that fits their values; and they want to be engaged and inspired by their jobs. At the same time, companies have changing needs as well. They want to operate in a more nimble fashion with a more fluid, flexible workforce, and they need employees with contemporary skills. Talent strategy needs to balance the needs of both employees and employers.

Successfully acquiring, developing and deploying talent starts with a strategy that dictates what work will be done in-house (rather than by partners), how it will get done (whether by people or technology) and by whom (whether full-time employees, contractors or partners). Next, companies need to create a compelling value proposition for talent that includes training in new skills as well as development opportunities – a New Deal for Talent. This new deal isn’t just about training and development, but also about rewards: financial, developmental, and rewards tied to mission and purpose. From there, firms can design modern talent management systems that smartly integrate digital tools to identify, recruit, engage, compensate, deploy and develop talent.

The group had a robust discussion about what motivates modern employees and what type of “deal” is required to attract and retain them. To appeal to the best and brightest, do you need to offer nap rooms, free lunches, a foosball table and a corporate mission to save the world, or will a steady paycheck suffice? The answer likely varies significantly by sector, generation and skillset, but some themes are emerging.

Today’s employees still value security, predictability and status, but the form those attributes take is changing. Security becomes less about lifelong employment and more about lifelong employability, achieved through constant acquisition of new and relevant skills. Employees are not giving up predictability, but their timelines are shortening and their willingness to experiment in different roles and functions is growing. They do still value status in the form of fair compensation, benefits and rewards for out-performance. But in today’s flatter organizations, that status often comes in the form of roles of increasing responsibility and impact, rather than a march through a hierarchy of job titles.

These changes create a new set of challenges and opportunities for employers. A renewed emphasis on development will likely entail investments in training, apprenticeship and cross-functional rotations. Employers will benefit from creating strong, clear links between employees’ work and the purpose it serves. New systems reflecting these changes will need to be developed. Pay, for example, was historically keyed to factors such as revenue growth and profitability targets, based on what both an individual and team had accomplished. Now different metrics must capture an individual’s contribution to a cross-functional group, or, in some cases, to non-quantifiable goals that span the entire company.

A big idea emerged from the conversation: increasingly, companies must understand that the needs of employees are not all the same. Employee ‘segments’ likely exist in the same way that customer segments do.

In the customer realm, we have moved to mass personalization, down to the individual “segment of one”. We anticipate customer needs, rather than simply react to them. Why can’t we apply the same logic to our employees? Can we identify unique needs among our employees and serve them differently, offering individualized learning plans, tailored recruiting messages and even personalized rewards? Can we apply the same types of data and tools we use with our customers to our internal talent?

 

HR executives have already begun to move toward this nuanced approach. Recent research led by our Bain colleague Michael Heric found some using sophisticated digital tools to fine-tune their understanding of each employee and improve career management, career planning and performance measurement.

In talent acquisition, digital technologies can personalize the experience of recruiters and candidates while expanding the talent pool, filtering for candidates with the right skills more efficiently and effectively, and helping identify future talent needs earlier. In workforce planning, technology helps identify ideal team compositions and enhance collaboration among team members. In performance management and motivation, it helps identify the metrics that truly matter for performance, and supports continuous feedback among employees, their peers and supervisors. In the realm of learning, it pinpoints training needs earlier, and improves reach, engagement and information retention through hands-on, accessible methods.

Early results of applying data-driven insights to talent management are strong. Studies have found machine learning can be up to 17 times more accurate than other methods at predicting who will resign, for example. Natural language processing has helped recruiters at Johnson & Johnson, Atlassian, Twitter and other companies improve the quality of their job listings in order to enhance the inclusivity of their workplaces. Google’s dedicated People Analytics team is working on a wide range of challenges, from determining the best size and shape of a given department to reducing defections after maternity leave.

Companies creating a digital-ready workforce may find that the digital technologies that have forced them to consider new approaches to talent management become an important part of how they solve the talent challenge. We have only scratched the surface of what is possible.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

The Japanese idea of ‘chowa’ – and how Asia can thrive in the future

We need to talk about how we define responsibility online – and how we enforce it

Big impact vs big exit: the social side of the start-up game presented at the WSA Global Congress in Vienna

What you need to know about the Sustainable Development Impact Summit

EU and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

This new way of understanding disease is changing medicine

7 amazing ways artificial intelligence is used in healthcare

“The Sea is vast as it admits all rivers”, Ambassador Yang Yanyi of the Chinese Mission to EU gives her farewell address in Brussels

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

Climate Change : An Already Health Emergency

In Gaza, UN envoy urges Israel, Palestinian factions to step back from brink of a war that ‘everybody will lose’

Will Eurozone be able to repay its debts? Is a bubble forming there?

EU readies for eventual annulment of the Turkish agreement on immigrants-refugees

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

Youth unemployment: No light at the end of the tunnel

Somalia has ‘once in a generation’ gender equality opportunity – UN Women chief

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

EU Commission: Banking and energy conglomerates don’t threaten competition!

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Cyprus banks under scrutiny

Fed, ECB take positions to face the next global financial crisis; the Brits uncovered

These charts show where the world’s refugees came from in 2017 – and where they’re heading

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

To win combat against HIV worldwide, ‘knowledge is power’, says UNAIDS report

Energy Union: EU invests a further €800 million in priority energy infrastructure

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: UN Climate Chief Calls for Final Push to Meet Adaptation Fund Goal Very Close to Target

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

How can we build a workforce for our digital future?

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Economy on a steady rise in Latin America and Caribbean region ‘despite international turbulence’ – UN report

Dramatic funding shortages a ‘severe catastrophe’ for people of Gaza: UN Coordinator

Frontline workers vaccinated in Uganda over Ebola fears, as top UN officials visit outbreak epicentre in DR Congo

Millions more migrant workers, means countries lose ‘most productive part’ of workforce

Girls groomed for suicide missions fight back against the extremists of Lake Chad

India’s economy is an ‘elephant that is starting to run’, according to the IMF

The right approach to addressing overcapacity problem from a Chinese perspective

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

“Prevention is better than cure”: the main goal of modern medicine

More than 90% of the world’s children are breathing toxic air

Infrastructure around the world is failing. Here’s how to make it more resilient

Commission launches new tool to support digital teaching and learning in schools

Big world banks to pay $ 4.95bn for cheating customers; Is it a punishment or a gentle caress?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s